The most intriguing, game-altering concept to hit the industry is finally on the shelves. Introducing the Maxim 9…
by the ShootingDaily staff
The concept of an integrally suppressed pistol has haunted firearm enthusiasts and defense professionals for quite some time. Perhaps the earliest (and crudest) execution of this idea is seen in the WWII-era British Welrod. For many reasons—performance, reliability, maintenance, and ultimately the NFA’s classification of suppressor technology as a class III item—the integrally suppressed pistol has never reached maturity…until now.
If you’re a fan of defensive or sporting handguns, you’ve probably heard of the Maxim 9 from SilencerCo. The company has teased us for a couple of years with their innovative approach to producing a semi-auto 9mm featuring an integral suppressor system. Early testing by independent evaluators hinted that the Maxim 9 delivered not only in terms of “hearing safe” sound suppression of loads ranging from 147 gr. and heavier subsonic rounds up to +P, but also in shooting ergonomics. In other words, this breakout pistol handles and shoots similar to a conventional full-frame semi-auto.
Well, the big news today is that the Maxim 9 has passed the field trial stage, has run the gun critics’ gauntlet, and is now on dealer shelves across the country.
To date, most attempts to develop an integral suppressor system in a pistol have revolved around modifying an existing platform (e.g. the Ruger MK .22LR or Browning Buckmark .22). The new Maxim 9, by contrast, was developed to be integrally suppressed from the outset. This fresh-from-scratch approach mitigated many of the design and engineering issues inherent to adapting “integral” suppression technology into an existing pistol platform—most notably weight balance, front-end mass, and suppressor chamber length. The latter is especially important given the Maxim 9’s centerfire credentials.
The noise suppression system is comprised of a baffle assembly situated forward of the frame, which blends ergonomically and aesthetically with the overall platform. The baffles can be configured by the shooter in two different lengths.
The Maxim 9 comes assembled from the factory in its long configuration, making the overall pistol length 10.75 inches. In this configuration, the pistol weighs 2 lbs. 7 oz. and is hearing safe when using all 9mm ammunition. Average dB levels for 115 gr., 124 gr., and 147 gr. ammo are 137.1 dB, 138.3 dB, and 136.3 dB, respectively. That falls below the 140 dB threshold for dangerous “impulse” noise and below that of the average .22 rifle report.
For a centerfire caliber, we’ll take that performance any day.
This is also what makes the Maxim 9 a promising platform for defense professionals. Permanent hearing damage can occur from a single incident of 140 dB+ impulse noise exposure. LE professionals, of course, do not have the luxury of wearing ear pro when they engage their duty weapon. We’ll bet a lot of departments will be taking a close look at the Maxim 9 in the coming months.
For those who wish to shoot subsonic ammo ≥ 147 gr., switching from the long- to short-baffle configuration is a simple matter: unscrew the two guide rods securing the baffles to the frame, remove the two center baffles, and then secure the assembly with the short guide rods. This will give a dB of 139.9 for subsonic 9mm ammo 147 gr. or heavier. Overall length of the pistol drops to 9.54 inches and weight falls two ounces. For comparative purposes, that’s only about an inch or slightly longer than a standard 1911 pistol.
A quick glance of the Maxim 9 and its unconventional front end lead most to think that the pistol is considerably nose-heavy. Surprisingly, that is not the case. The reason is that all the heavy hardware, such as the barrel and slide assembly, is located toward the back half of the frame and above the grip. This, combined with the relatively lightweight suppressor baffle construction, gives the Maxim 9 an unexpectedly fine balance in the hand. What’s more, the minimized front-end mass and short slide significantly reduces muzzle rise—especially when compared to pistols fitted with conventional-length suppressors. All this not only makes the pistol comfortable to shoot, target reacquisition is quick. Only the rear sight moves in relation to the frame, not the front and rear sight, as is the case with full-length slides.
Speaking of sights, the Maxim 9 is fitted with familiar Glock front and rear “3 dot” night sights. Those who prefer optical assist will appreciate that the Maxim 9 is milled to accept the Trijicon RMR red dot.
While we’re discussing add-on options, the bottom length of the baffle stack is KeyMod-compatible, so fitting the Maxim 9 with a tactical light or laser is no effort.
We had the pleasure of testing the Maxim 9 in Texas a couple months ago, and our opinion of the pistol quickly went from “cool novelty” to, “Hey, this is a serious defensive firearm.”
The Maxim 9 does not feel or handle as bulky as it looks. As mentioned, the lightweight baffle construction, frame integration, and short slide/fixed barrel arrangement makes the pistol surprisingly balanced. Muzzle flip is negligible and, of course, the soft report makes this an all-day shooter, if one is so inclined. For sport shooting, home defense, or LE applications, we could see the Maxim 9 being the preferred go-to pistol.
So, what about carrying concealed? As with any full-sized, robust handgun, concealability depends largely on the practitioner’s frame and ability to carry a firearm of this size under clothing. Not everyone, of course, will be able to pull it off.
Fortunately, SilencerCo has partnered with a few heavy-hitters in the holster segment, including Galco, Gunfighter, Blackhawk, and G-Code, to manufacture compatible holsters for the Maxim 9. Not all are currently available as of this writing, but expect variants to hit the shelves in the coming months.
SilencerCo Maxim 9
Dimensions: 1.58” x 5.41”
Short Configuration (hearing safe with 9mm subsonic ammunition – 147gr or above)
147gr: 139.9 dB
Weight: 2 lb, 5 oz
Length: 9.54 in
Full-Length Configuration (hearing safe with all 9mm ammunition, including JHP)
115gr: 137.1 dB
124gr: 138.3 dB
147gr: 136.3 dB
Weight: 2 lb, 7 oz
Length: 10.75 in
- Uniquely designed striker fired action creates space for suppression, reduces recoil, and provides best possible balance
- Fixed 4.38-inch barrel with 1:10 twist ensures reliable accuracy
- Ambidextrous controls allow for easy right- or left-hand manipulation
- Pistol comes pre-cut for approved aftermarket optics: ships with cover
- User-configurable length for maximum adaptability: all parts included
- Trigger safety passes both SAAMI and NIJ drop tests
- Trigger pull averages 5.6 lbs
- Compatible with Glock 17 round, Glock 30+ round, and Glock aftermarket 9mm magazines
- Ships with (2) Magpul PMAG 17 GL9 magazines
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